The Thanksgiving Tree

The Thanksgiving Tree

Friday, January 31, 2014

Oh, to have the faith of my dog

Henry is our sweet one year old lab.  I have a love/hate relationship with this animal.  Henry is the dog whom I would take in and out, in and out, trying to potty train him and after about the seventh time to no avail, we would come in... he would look at me...make sure I was looking... then urinate all over the floor.  He's the dog that goes nuts at the vet and won't sit still on the scale.  He's the dog who hunts for dirty diapers as if they were treasures worthy of all costs.  He's the dog that when I go to pick him up after being boarded, I'm nauseated.  "Well, Henry ate his bed this time.  Watch him for a few days."  He's the dog who would bolt across the street to visit anything and anyone because apparently the entire world wants to pet him.  He's jumped on the school bus.  He's been in and out of almost every neighbor's garage.  He's chewed too many balls and sports equipment to count.  Not to mention shoes and socks and kitty toys.  Yet somehow through all the destruction, he as managed to wedge a warm spot in our hearts.  

He never jumps on my children.  He waits politely for his food and for us to enter and exit first out of the house or garage.  He started barking furiously one day (which he RARELY does.. another great thing about him) and I went running down to the garage to find that Thomas had opened the garage door and was walking out into our front yard!  (good dog)  He once found an earring that I had lost playing with the kids in the yard and dropped it in my hands.. unscathed.  (good dog)  One night while Josh was taking him out there was a noise and he went and stood in between from where the noise was coming from and Josh.  It was Chris taking the trash out.  But Henry didn't budge until Chris came into sight and then he wagged his tail wildly; as if relieved that Josh was safe.  :) (good dog)  He lets Thomas ride him occasionally.  He's great on his walks....and well, he just loves us.  I never fully understood or realized exactly how much he loves us until recently.

Because Henry was becoming more confident in his surroundings, he was leaving the yard a lot more; wandering out in the street and exploring in the woods.  We decided to activate the electric fence that was installed by the previous owners.  We had a trainer come out and work with Henry.  We set up the flags establishing his boundary and it didn't take but a few hours and Henry found a new motto to live by:  "flag...bad".  This new restriction provided all of us more freedom to enjoy being outdoors and being with Henry.  

The invisible fence was great, however, when I leashed him up to take him for his first walk since the installation, he put the breaks on.  Even though I had taken off his electric collar, all he knew was he wasn't supposed to cross that line.  Remember?  Flag...bad.

I coaxed him.  "come on, boy.  it's ok.  come on.."

He moved an inch.

I asked again.  "come on, Henry.  It's ok.  I promise.  come on..."

He lowered to the ground...tail tucked 'neath his belly...Ears bent low.  He did a little crawl.

"Good boy.  Come on.  I promise... You can trust me.... it's ok.. just a little more"

And with a little whimper, he scampered quickly across the flag threshold and I praised him.  I don't know if he understood me or not, but I told him that he can always trust me.  I will never ask him to walk through that wire unless I know he isn't going to get a shock.  Just listen to me, boy.  
And then it hit me.

Oh, to have the faith of my dog.

Everything he knew to be true, had experienced first hand, over and over again.... screamed this is dangerous and painful.  I was the only voice telling him it was safe.  He had a choice.  He could stay in his safe little yard and miss out on our walk together... new smells...visiting the horses... running down the hills...all the things he loves and brings him joy.... or trust me when I said it was okay to come.  If that's not faith, I don't know what is.  And I realized, this dog, with whom I loved AND hated...whole-heartedly loved me.  He was willing to go wherever I called..even when he knew it could cost him greatly.

There are times certain paths aren't allowed, and times we're asked to take the very road once prohibited.  That's why we must keep our eyes before the One who is instructing us in the way...the when...the how.   His paths never lead to anywhere but Holy ground when we are following Him.

I love my dog.  

We had a great walk that day.  And we have had many great walks since.  Now all I have to say is, "Come on Henry... It's okay to cross."  And without a beat, he marches right alongside me through those obnoxious yellow flags.  Trust like this is love.

Oh, to have the faith of my dog.

" I keep The Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.  Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure....You show me the path of life.  In Your presence there is fullness of joy;  in Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:8-9,11